Gametime is just around the corner! Love it. As much as I'd like to think we'll annihilate the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field, I think I'm more inclined to believe this one being a fairly close game. Part of that is because Bengals QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has gotten more experience since our October 19th showdown than he previously had in his entire career. Let's take a look at some of his performances, at least just the simple box scores, since we last saw him.
- Fitzpatrick's numbers are still nothing to write home about. His yards per attempt have been meager to say the least. But he's proven himself to be fairly accurate, while improving in the ball protection department. If you remember back to our first game in October, after looking just putrid for the first quarter and a half of the game (they had 0 first downs on like their first 4 series), Fitzpatrick thoroughly dissected our defense on a 90+ yard scoring march to close the half. If you think about it, that one drive may have been the lowest moment of our entire season defensively.
- Those rushing yards ain't bad. For a journeyman from Harvard.
- As he's grown more comfortable, TJ Houshmanzadeh's numbers have remained oustanding. House has 35 catches in his last four games, and now leads the league with 73 receptions. Back-to-back reception titles for TJ?
- Chad Johnson on the other hand, finds himself mired in the worse season of his career with Fitzpatrick at QB. He has just 14 catches for 115 yards in his last three outings.
So we'll see what kind of test Pittsburgh faces from Fitzpatrick and the Bengals offense. More later on the play of the Cincy defense since we last saw them, but knowing what we do about our offense, Cincy's best shot at escaping Heinz with a win is if Fitzpatrcik continues to make progress and engineers some scoring drives against our stout D. Seems unlikely, I know, but with or without much of a running game from Cedric Benson, I still find it likely that they will find some success through the air with the short passing game. Just how much success? Hopefully not too much.